'American Idol' recap: Heejun Han heads home
The "American Idol" voters have spoken yet again. Thursday night they sent home this season's hands-down funniest contestant, Heejun Han. Alas, though he nearly always made us laugh, Han was not the contestant with the best voice, the best stage presence, the best command of pitch, the best knack for choosing songs or the best grasp on the persona he wished to present to the world.
So it's hard to argue it wasn't his turn to depart. Which doesn't mean that we won't miss him. We will. Because who will mouth the words on the teleprompter over Ryan Seacrest's shoulder now? Who will crack Jimmy Iovine's face into a reluctant smile with a confounding quip? Who will give the camera a sly look whenever he hugs an attractive female contestant or guest mentor?
Yes, it's a loss.
But as Steven Tyler not so delicately pointed out before announcing the judges would not be using their coveted save on Han, the sporadically irreverent, erratically buttery-voiced singer had probably seen his elimination coming for weeks, sweating out each and every results show in his "mostly water" way. It was probably hard to miss that he was dwelling in the doghouse after Tyler gave him that super-stern dressing down a couple of weeks ago. "The music business will kick your ass," Tyler said, after Han made merry with a Billy Joel song. "Sometimes you gotta be a bit more serious."
Idol prophet Iovine put it plainly, prompting Seacrest to wryly suggest that tweeters should reference "harshtag" and not "hashtag" Jimmy: "I don't think he sings as well as the other eight contestants in the show."
That's really the bottom line, because who would you have sent home instead? Han's fellow members of the bottom three, Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh, have had some recent stumbles and probably won't survive beyond a few more weeks, especially considering the "Idol" voters' tendency to more readily forgive performance missteps in male contestants, but they deserve to stick around and keep singing. The same can be said of the rest of the contestants, who turned in performances ranging from generally solid to stellar on a particularly strong night of "Idol" on Wednesday. (I won't be sad to see DeAndre Brackensick go, but that's probably mostly a matter of personal taste.)
So for now, we'll just have to rely on Seacrest for humor and irreverence during "Idol," and he does seem up to the task. After Nicki Minaj's wardrobe-malfunction-risking performance of "Starships," during which her starships really seemed perilously close to popping out of her way-too-teeny rainbow bikini top, Seacrest commented, "There were parts of that performance that were a little high risk, if you know what I'm saying."
And following a performance by last year's "Idol" winner Scotty McCreery, who still points his fingers and pats his side when he works the stage, but seems to mug less and have matured as a singer, Seacrest coyly referenced McCreery's "Mmmbaby, lock them doors" beginnings. He also took another lighthearted swipe at Iovine, who he said was taking a break "from being diabolical" to present McCreery with a platinum record.
No, it's not quite up to Han's "freaking cowboys" rant, but it's a start.
Are you sad to see Heejun Han go?
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Photo: Scotty McCreery is presented with a platinum record for "Clear as Day" on "American Idol" airing Thursday on Fox. Pictured from left, Scotty McCreery, Jimmy Iovine and Ryan Seacrest. Credit: Phil Mcarten / Fox.